Kosciusko Superior Court I Judge David Cates accepted a plea agreement Thursday and sentenced Vincent Banks to five years for child molesting.

Banks, 56, of 4873 E. Ind. 14, Claypool, was handed the five-year sentence to be served at the Indiana Department of Corrections, with two years suspended on probation, as part of the plea agreement struck with the prosecutor’s office.

Banks was arrested July 16 after a girl told police she was touched by Banks as a young child. According to court documents, Banks would touch himself, put his hand on top of the child's hand to fondle the child and also had the child touch him inappropriately. The girl told investigators this happened for approximately two years.

When Banks was interviewed by police, he confirmed the story but said the alleged events occurred when the child was 5 to 6 years old and during a two-week time period, court records reflect.

Banks pleaded guilty to the level C felony child molesting charge Aug. 29.

In his statement to the court Thursday, Banks said he has a wonderful wife and five children and he’s “devastated all of them” with his “extremely wrong criminal behavior.” Banks told Cates he prayed all of them will forgive him and that he also prays the court will have mercy on him, even though “I don’t deserve it,” he said.

Banks was crying through the court proceeding.

His lawyer, Paul Refior, told Cates he’s representing Banks because he believes Banks when he talks to him and that he feels Banks has genuinely owned up to his crimes, noting Banks has in many ways destroyed a lot of the life he’s worked to build. Refior told the judge he has daughters himself and what his client did is disgusting.

Banks then told Cates he’s sorry and he is guilty of a “terrible, wicked mistake.”

Cates said Banks appears remorseful and he sees no criminal history otherwise, but that it wasn’t a mistake.

“It was a series of choices and these are choices that you and you alone made,”?Cates said.

Banks will be required to register as a sex offender, live in the Potter’s House in Fort Wayne upon release from prison and seek help from the Bowen Center.

“Forgiveness is between you and the family,” Cates said. “But you committed an act here where I agree with your attorney – it’s disgusting.”